Startup Checklist: 10 Things All Business Owners Need

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Startup Checklist

10 Things All Business Owners Need For A Startup

Making the decision to start your own company can be pretty daunting. After all, there is so much to plan and think about. The best thing you can do is stick to a checklist of the things you need and avoid listening to too many opinions, as it can make the process a lot more complicated. This handy guide has been put together to highlight ten essential things all business owners need to make their startup a success. Some of the topics discussed include funding, merchant cash advance, insurance, and much more.

1. Business Plan

To give your brand the best possible start, you need to create a detailed business plan. It can be easy to get carried away by exciting things like making your brand logo and choosing your retail unit. However, without a business plan to follow, you can quickly lose sight of what you are doing. A business plan will be a document that you rely on. It should detail how you will get your business up and running, outlining each step, including financial information and competitor analysis. Your business plan also allows you to set realistic expectations. It will help you understand the funds you need to turn your business into a reality. If you need help writing your business plan, look at some online examples to help you get started.

2. Unique Selling Point (USP)

Does your brand have a purpose? Why do people need your company to exist? These are two crucial questions that you need to ask yourself before you start throwing money at your business. Ideally, your brand will have a USP that will set you aside from your competitors and give people a reason to invest their money into your product/services. To get started, you will need to research your competitors. Brainstorm what makes you unique in comparison to them. When thinking about your USP, you should always have your target customer in mind. Will they be interested in your USP? Will it attract them? You may find that you do not have a USP yet, and you may need to go back to the drawing board. Identifying this early works to your advantage as your product/service has not hit the market yet.

3. An Avenue To Sell Your Products

Now that you have a product/service you want to sell, you will need to think about how you will sell it. You may decide to start small by hiring out market stalls – or decide that you want your business to sell its products solely online. Your decision should be integrated into your business plan. It can be a wise idea to start selling your products locally. Doing this allows you to introduce your brand to a local community, and you can build valuable relationships with other businesses in the area. If you want to run a market stall as a local trader, you must acquire a license. To do this, you will need to visit the government website. A license is hugely important as you could be prosecuted for trading illegally, so this is something to bear in mind.

Unique Selling Point (USP)

4. Business Bank Account

As a startup, you may not feel the need to open a business bank account. However, this is strongly advised to help you avoid a difficult financial situation further down the line. A business bank account allows you to separate your business expenses from your personal ones. It will also keep all financial records of your business organised. As your business begins to grow – and you start hiring employees, you will need to pay them. Another benefit of a business bank account is you can process salary payments. There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing a business bank account. You should use comparison sites to help you find the best one for you. Ideally, you will opt for an account with an overdraft for those months when money is tight during the early stages of your business.

5. Funding

To make your startup dreams a reality, you must acquire enough funding. You should have a clear idea of what funds you need, as it will already be outlined in your business plan. Sometimes, it can be challenging to save the money you need in a short while. Therefore, you may need to look into other avenues to generate funding. A merchant cash advance can help. A merchant cash advance allows you to borrow money from a lender. Instead of worrying about paying it back within a short timeframe, you pay the money back through future customer card transactions. It takes the stress out of applying for a loan. You can learn more about merchant cash advance by talking to organisations like Capalona. They can help you get a free quote within minutes.

6. Customers

No business can succeed without a loyal customer base, but how do you start attracting customers in the first place? Ideally, you would already have conducted some market research to determine if there is an audience for your product/service. Competing with the big companies helps if you give your audience an offer they cannot refuse. For example, offering new customers a discount on their first five purchases is a great way to lure people in and encourage repeat customers. Networking is also a vital asset that can help. Expand your existing network by talking to like-minded people in the industry who can refer your brand to their friends and family. Attend local networking events that you can find through social media platforms.

7. Insurance

For many, the thought of sorting out multiple insurance policies is a little daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be a difficult task with the correct knowledge of the cover you need. No matter how big or small, all startup businesses should acquire business insurance. It helps to protect the business owner against everyday risks. For example, mistakes and stock damage are two risks that all companies can face, and the right policy can cover you in these instances. Ideally, you should consider four types of insurance: professional indemnity, public and product liability, building and contents and employers’ liability insurance. You can learn more about them by conducting some online research. Failure to have insurance in place could lead you to challenging financial problems further down the line, which all startups want to avoid.

8. Employees

This step may not apply to everyone. However, depending on the size of your startup, you may require some employees to help you. If you are hiring employees for the first time, there are a few steps you will need to follow. Firstly, you will need to decide how much you want to pay them. Look at similar job vacancies online to gauge how much the role typically pays. You will also need to run some legal checks and get employers’ liability insurance. Your new employee will require a written statement of employment before you tell HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that you wish to register a new employee. It is vital that you get this process right. If you are struggling, it is advised that you look at the government website for some more information.

Employees

9. Website

Every new business needs a website. It adds professionalism to your brand – and can also be an effective way to bring in new customers. It doesn’t matter if you are not selling your products/services online. You can use your website to showcase your product catalogue instead. It is also a place that most of your customers will visit if they want to find out more information regarding your brand. If this is your first time building a website from the ground up, it is advised that you look at some business website tips to get you started. Alternatively, you could hire a web designer. If you are struggling to fund this, you could apply for a merchant cash advance, as previously discussed in this guide.

10. Brand Identity

Without a doubt, building your brand identity is one of the most exciting steps on this checklist. Your brand identity is the visual elements of your brand. This includes your logo and brand colours. It is vital in helping you portray a positive and memorable image to your customers. You should research both your audience and competition. Ideally, you will pick visual elements that differentiate your brand from your competitors. When it comes to logo design, try to keep it relatively simple. It can be easy to chuck everything at it. However, you want the logo to resonate with your customers and not confuse them. Luckily, you don’t need a degree in graphic design to make a great logo. Now, there are plenty of logo makers that can do the work for you. All you have to do is pick the visual elements you like – and a colour palette, and you can have a logo within minutes.

Summary

So, there we have it. Your startup checklist. It is important to remember that starting a business requires patience and detailed planning. Follow your business plan as guidance, and don’t be afraid to apply for a merchant cash advance if you are struggling to get the funding you need. Start networking with people in your industry to get your name out there and create hype around your new brand.

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